Virtual School Meanderings

October 10, 2021

“ALEC From a Biblical Worldview,” and Other News from CMD

Several education-related items in this Center for Media and Democracy newsletter.

This Week at CMD

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the right-wing, corporate pay-to-play bill-writing network, keeps lying. For years, ALEC has falsely claimed that it stays out of social issues, and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) isn’t letting them off the hook.

This week we published a story about ALEC’s legislative leaders boasting of anti-abortion and anti-transgender bills in their states and a spinoff model legislation group whose founder called it “ALEC from a biblical worldview.”

We also exposed the Republican Attorneys General Association’s latest tactics.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Elections Commission failed to do its job, dismissing our complaint against ALEC for illegal campaign contributions in a split vote. The good news is that Connecticut has launched an investigation into ALEC’s practices, and last week the Maine Ethics Commission voted to investigate ALEC’s campaign software scheme. CMD Executive Director Arn Pearson testified during that hearing. We have upcoming hearings on our ALEC complaints in Minnesota (November) and Wisconsin (December).

CMD has filed an IRS complaint and 11 state complaints so far alleging that ALEC is engaged in illegal electioneering by donating valuable voter management software to its legislative members.

Here’s the latest!

The Latest From CMD

ALEC Leaders Boast About Anti-Abortion, Anti-Trans Bills

At a Council for National Policy conference in May, top legislative members of the American Legislative Exchange Council took credit for advancing bills to severely restrict abortion access and target trans students in their states.

Read More

Republicans AGs Expand Their Pay-to-Play Operation

The Republican Attorneys General Association has added another weapon to its arsenal of pay-to-play groups designed to influence state attorneys general and national policy.

Read More

We Need Your Help!

CMD depends on your generous contributions. Please consider donating today to help us uncover the Right’s lawbreaking and secret schemes.

Thank you!

If you’d like to send us a check, please mail it to:

Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010
Madison, WI 53725-9010

CMD Around the Web

Local, state, and national outlets covered our recent work.

  • Salon: Joe Manchin has made $5.2M from his coal company — and gets big donations from fossil-fuel industry.
  • Counterpunch: Bickering Democrats Hurting Themselves.
  • The Young Turks: Manchin’s Coal Haul Tops $5 Million.
  • Religion Dispatches: Arkansas’ End Times Politics May Be Coming to a State Near You.
  • CT Insider: Dark money behind school board conflicts.
  • Baraboo News Republic: Redistricting needs to be fair.

More outlets covered the results of our complaint.

Thank you for supporting the Center for Media and Democracy and reading our work at Exposed by CMD! Have a great week.

Arn H. Pearson
Executive Director
CMD is a 501(c)(3) national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work is regularly cited by news outlets, policymakers, and grassroots activists working to build a more sustainable future and just society. CMD is reader-supportedPlease make your tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!

Follow us on social!

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Our Work
Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010  | Madison, Wisconsin 53725-9010
608-260-9713 | editor@prwatch.org
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October 5, 2021

Maine Ethics Commission Will Investigate ALEC, and Other News From CMD

An update on this item from the Center for Media and Democracy on ALEC.

This Week at CMD

The big news this week is that the Maine Ethics Commission has voted to investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) campaign software scheme based on a complaint filed by CMD in July.

CMD has filed an IRS complaint and 11 state complaints so far alleging that ALEC, a corporate, pay-to-play bill-writing network, is engaged in illegal electioneering by donating valuable voter management software to its legislative members.

CMD Executive Director Arn Pearson testified yesterday during the commission’s hearing. While ALEC’s lawyer claimed the group’s legislative members only used the software for constituent services—even though it is exactly the same as a partisan campaign package that uses the tag line, “We Turn Data Into Votes”—the commission opted to investigate what the software actually does in order to determine whether ALEC broke campaign finance laws.

Prior to Maine, Connecticut launched an investigation into ALEC’s practices. Next week, three more preliminary hearings on CMD’s complaints against ALEC will take place in Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

This week we also have stories for you about ALEC’s funders, GOP megadonor Art Pope’s role in helping Republicans rig future elections, and Pfizer’s donations to extremist anti-vax politicians.

Here’s the latest!

The Latest From CMD

Maine Ethics Commission Will Investigate ALEC Campaign Software Scheme

The Maine Ethics Commission voted to authorize an investigation into whether the ALEC violated state campaign finance laws by providing valuable voter management software to its legislative members for free as a “membership benefit.”

Read More

Here’s Who Funds the Right-Wing American Legislative Exchange Council

A CMD investigation reveals the identities of the donors behind a large portion of ALEC’s revenue as the group continues its attempts to hide its backers and its agenda from the public.

Read More

Please Support Us!

Donate now and help CMD keep the heat on ALEC.

Thank you!

If you’d like to send us a check, please mail it to:

Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010
Madison, WI 53725-9010

GOP Megadonor Art Pope Plays Leading Role in GOP Gerrymandering Operation

GOP megadonor and power broker Art Pope has gone all-in to help Republicans rig elections in their favor for the next decade.

Read More

Pfizer Gave Money to Arizona Legislators Speaking at Anti-Vaxxer QAnon Conference

Pfizer likely may not have its executives at the QAnon conference in Las Vegas on Oct. 22-25, but three Arizona legislators it gave money to will be there as “special guests” and speakers.

Read More

CMD Around the Web

Reverend Doctor William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, cited our recent story about a new MAGA voter suppression center.

  • Time: Democrats Must Pass Voting Rights Protections, But They Can’t Codify a Lie.

U.S. senators cited our work in their new publication 

  • Senate Democrats: “Captured Courts: The Republican Judicial Assault on Reproductive Rights

The Bangor Daily News covered the Maine Ethics Commission’s decision to launch an investigation.

  • Bangor Daily News: Jared Golden wants Democrats to go it alone to raise the debt ceiling

More national, state, and local publications referenced our reporting:

  • The Guardian: Top Republicans rub shoulders with extremists in secretive rightwing group, leak reveals
  • The Guardian: Joe Manchin, America’s climate decider-in-chief, is a coal baron
  • The Nation: Joe Manchin, America’s climate decider-in-chief, is a coal baron
  • Business Insider: One of the most secretive and powerful groups in GOP politics just had its cellphone numbers leaked. Here’s what its members said about Trump 2024 when we started calling.
  • Bucks County Courier Times: Bucks County GOP must reject militias, QAnon, Proud Boys, and other extremism
  • Casper Star-Tribune: ALEC still in action
  • Truth or Fiction: How to Fight Disinformation — Part III: Distraction
Thank you for supporting the Center for Media and Democracy and reading our work at Exposed by CMD! Have a great week.

Arn H. Pearson
Executive Director
CMD is a 501(c)(3) national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work is regularly cited by news outlets, policymakers, and grassroots activists working to build a more sustainable future and just society. CMD is reader-supportedPlease make your tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!

Follow us on social!

Subscribe
Donate
Our Work
Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010  | Madison, Wisconsin 53725-9010
608-260-9713 | editor@prwatch.org
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

Earlier entries have included:

September 21, 2021

Trump Die-Hards Launch MAGA Voter Suppression Center, and Other News From CMD

An update on this item from the Center for Media and Democracy.

This Week at CMD

This week the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has stories for you about voter suppression, Medicaid expansion, and the defense industry’s effective lobbying efforts in the post-9/11 years.

Materials we obtained revealed details about a Trumpian organization that just launched a voter suppression center, which will work with the network of similar groups that CMD tracks to both prevent people from casting their ballots and attempt to subvert future elections.

Here’s the latest!

The Latest From CMD

Trump Die-Hards Launch MAGA Voter Suppression Center

Materials obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy detail a sophisticated, well-funded effort by the America First Policy Institute to engage state-level allies and coordinate with national right-wing groups working on elections to advance voter suppression measures embraced by the far right.

Read More

Koch Network Fights to Stop Medicaid Expansion in Remaining States

Charles Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and the Uihlein-funded Foundation for Government Accountability are actively opposing Medicaid expansion in 12 states that would cover an estimated 4 million uninsured Americans.

Read More

Defense Giants Spend Big on Lobbying and Elections to Boost Post-9/11 Profits

The top five defense contractors have spent over $1.2 billion on federal lobbying and campaign donations and scored trillions in Pentagon contracts since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Read More

Please Support Us!

Donate now and help CMD keep the heat on vote suppressors and the Koch network.

 With your support, CMD will continue to shine a light on the Right’s efforts to suppress the vote and undermine public programs.

Thank you!

If you’d like to send us a check, please mail it to:

Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010
Madison, WI 53725-9010

CMD Around the Web

In the last week, our work was featured in two podcast episodes and republished by two additional outlets.

  • Season 1 of TransLash’sThe Anti-Trans Hate Machine” podcast series concludes with an episode about the far right Christian influence group the Council for National Policy and the funding it directs to anti-LGBTQ organizations. CMD investigative reporter Alex Kotch’s reporting on the National Christian Foundation heavily informed the episode.
  • The Behind the Bastards podcast discusses CMD’s scoop that the Council for National Policy set up a pro-Trump group of doctors who spread lies about Covid-19 in an effort to restart the economy and rehabilitate Donald Trump last year. Since then, as CMD recently reported, the doctors are promoting fake Covid medications and scamming customers who believe them.
  • Sludge and Truthout republished our story about the pro-Trump doctors.
Thank you for supporting the Center for Media and Democracy and reading our work at Exposed by CMD! Have a great week.

Arn H. Pearson
Executive Director
CMD is a 501(c)(3) national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work is regularly cited by news outlets, policymakers, and grassroots activists working to build a more sustainable future and just society. CMD is reader-supportedPlease make your tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!

Follow us on social!

Subscribe
Donate
Our Work
Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010  | Madison, Wisconsin 53725-9010
608-260-9713 | editor@prwatch.org
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

September 14, 2021

Tea Party Patriots Are Behind Pro-Trump Doctors Grifting Off of Fake Covid Cures, and Other News From CMD

An update on this item from the Center for Media and Democracy.  For earlier coverage, see see BREAKING: CMD Charges ALEC With Illegal ElectioneeringCMD Files IRS Whistleblower Complaint Against ALEC, and Other News from CMDBREAKING: CMD Files Complaints in 15 States Against ALEC for Illegal Campaign SchemeALEC Week: A busy week of coverage of the corporate trade group from CMD, Companies That Publicly Opposed Voter Suppression Continue to Fund Voter Suppression Group, and Other News From CMD, and BREAKING: ALEC Lied About Its Work on Election Suppression Bills.

Hi there Democracy Advocates!

This week the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has stories for you about far-right lies.

We found out which organization is behind a group of pro-Trump doctors who are pushing fake Covid-19 cures and grifting off of the people who believe their lies. And we exposed the pay-to-play corporate bill mill the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for pretending it is not involved in voter suppression legislation and attacks on the teaching of systemic racism.

Here’s the latest!

The Latest From CMD

Tea Party Patriots Are Behind Pro-Trump Doctors Grifting Off of Fake Covid Cures

Documents obtained by CMD show that the Tea Party Patriots Foundation was the fiscal sponsor of the organization behind America’s Frontline Doctors, which spread lies about Covid-19 and is scamming customers looking for vaccine alternatives.

Read More

ALEC Claims Credit for Voter Suppression and Anti-Critical Race Theory Laws at Secret Meeting

ALEC boasted about its role in promoting and passing laws making it harder to vote, barring schools from teaching about America’s racist past, and protecting employers from COVID-related lawsuits at a May meeting of the right-wing Council for National Policy.

Read More

ICYMI: ALEC Lied About Its Work on Election Suppression Bills

ALEC claims that it “doesn’t work on voting issues,” but its CEO told a very different story to her right-wing audience at a Council for National Policy meeting in May.

Read More

Please partner with us!

Donate now and help CMD keep the heat on ALEC.

 With your support, CMD will continue to shine a light on ALEC’s voter suppression efforts and illegal campaign schemes.

Thank you!

If you’d like to send us a check, please mail it to:

Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010
Madison, WI 53725-9010

CMD Around the Web

Our leaked video of the Council for National Policy meeting created controversy in Utah. In the meeting, Utah’s Senate president said that Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell “doesn’t really understand” what happened with the critical race theory resolution.

  • The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Senate president says Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell ‘doesn’t really understand’ what happened with critical race theory push
  • The Salt Lake Tribune: Stuart Adams or Donovan Mitchell … who you gonna hear and trust when it comes to race in Utah?
  • DeseretNews: Donovan Mitchell didn’t ‘understand’ Utah’s critical race theory resolution, Utah Senate president says
  • KSL Radio News: Senate President Stuart Adams blames Donovan Mitchell for blowback on attempted Critical Race Theory ban
  • Religion Dispatches: Bill Mill-ennialism: Arkansas’ End Times Politics May Be Coming to a State Near You

Our scoop that ALEC is lying about its involvement in voter suppression laws was republished by The American Prospect and Sludge.

Thank you for supporting the Center for Media and Democracy and reading our work at Exposed by CMD! Have a great week.

Arn H. Pearson
Executive Director
CMD is a 501(c)(3) national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work is regularly cited by news outlets, policymakers, and grassroots activists working to build a more sustainable future and just society. CMD is reader-supportedPlease make your tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!

Follow us on social!

Subscribe
Donate
Our Work
Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010  | Madison, Wisconsin 53725-9010
608-260-9713 | editor@prwatch.org
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser

September 7, 2021

BREAKING: ALEC Lied About Its Work on Election Suppression Bills

An update on this item from the Center for Media and Democracy.  For earlier coverage, see see BREAKING: CMD Charges ALEC With Illegal ElectioneeringCMD Files IRS Whistleblower Complaint Against ALEC, and Other News from CMDBREAKING: CMD Files Complaints in 15 States Against ALEC for Illegal Campaign Scheme, ALEC Week: A busy week of coverage of the corporate trade group from CMD, and Companies That Publicly Opposed Voter Suppression Continue to Fund Voter Suppression Group, and Other News From CMD.

Dear Friends,

We have some breaking news that we want to share with you.

When we joined a coalition of more than 300 civil rights and democracy reform groups earlier this year to call out the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for promoting voter suppression legislation, ALEC CEO Lisa Nelson published an op ed and sent a letter to ALEC’s corporate members vehemently denying that ALEC worked on voting issues.

She lied. And CMD just caught her red-handed.

CMD has obtained video from a Council for National Policy event in May where Nelson laid out in detail what ALEC is doing on voter suppression, including how it is outsourcing its elections model policies to Honest Elections Project, a dark money group with which it works closely. Read more.

ALEC is hiding its voter suppression work behind the Honest Elections Project because public outrage over its past efforts to promote controversial voter ID laws and gun laws and deny  climate change spurred more than 100 of its corporate sponsors to dump ALEC.

CMD is not going to let them pull a fast one this time.

Our investigations have already revealed more than 100 ALEC-connected politicians sponsoring or cosponsoring voter suppression bills this year, and that its national board treasurer is leading the bogus Cyber Ninjas election “audit” in Arizona financed by promoters of Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen.

We also blew the whistle this summer on ALEC’s illegal scheme to provide sophisticated voter management campaign software tied to the RNC and worth more than $6 million to its overwhelmingly Republican members, by filing an IRS whistleblower complaint and campaign finance complaints in 15 states.

ALEC Lied About Its Work on Election Suppression Bills

ALEC claims that it “doesn’t work on voting issues,” but its CEO told a very different story to her right-wing audience at a Council for National Policy meeting in May.

Read More

Please partner with us!

Donate now and help CMD keep the heat on ALEC.

 With your support, CMD will continue to shine a light on ALEC’s voter suppression efforts and illegal campaign schemes.

Thank you!

If you’d prefer to donate by check, please mail it to:

Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010
Madison, WI 53725-9010

More News from CMD

Bradley Foundation Bankrolls Controversial ALEC Voter Software

The right-wing Bradley Foundation has earmarked at least $1.7M for ALEC’s distribution of sophisticated voter management software deeply tied to the Republican Party since 2017, the subject of an IRS whistleblower complaint and multiple state campaign finance complaints.

Read More

Koch and Ryan Back Heavily Subsidized Startup Company

Both the Kochs and former House Speaker Paul Ryan decry government subsidies, except when it comes to their private interests, such as involvement in SHINE Medical Technologies, one of Wisconsin’s most heavily subsidized companies.

Read More

CMD in the News

CMD’s work was recently cited by several national outlets:

  • Time: How ‘America’s Frontline Doctors’ Sold Access to Bogus COVID-19 Treatments—and Left Patients in the Lurch
  • The Guardian: Rightwing lobbies and dark money funders backing assaults on voting rights
  • The Atlantic: Exposing ALEC: How Conservative-Backed State Laws Are All Connected
  • CounterPunch: Freedom of Speech According to the Gospel of Koch
  • Alternet: How schools can address their community’s deep trauma
  • Inside the Movement’s digital newsletter
  • South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Did right-wing organization violate campaign law and its own tax-exempt status? (Editorial)

Sludge republished our scoop about ALEC’s lies.

Thank you for keeping up with our investigative reporting. We appreciate your support as we expose the most nefarious groups and funders in the United States.

Arn Pearson, Executive Director

CMD is a 501(c)(3) national watchdog and media group that conducts in-depth investigations into corruption and the undue influence of corporations on media and democracy. Our work is regularly cited by news outlets, policymakers, and grassroots activists working to build a more sustainable future and just society. CMD is reader-supportedPlease make your tax-deductible donation today. Thank you!

Follow us on social!

Subscribe
Donate
Our Work
Center for Media and Democracy
P.O. Box 259010  | Madison, Wisconsin 53725-9010
608-260-9713 | editor@prwatch.org
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser
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